Speak In Nottingham To Me – A Beginner’s Guide To Nottingham’s Dialect
Language is certainly one of our best creations. Without it, it would be difficult for us to coexist, establish communities and share feelings. Language makes it all easier and helps us work together and understand one another.
Throughout history people always felt the need to find one universal language for all. Several attempts were made to popularise different languages and make them used globally, with Latin being one of the first languages widely-spread across Europe. Back then Latin was a language of science, literature, law, and administration. It was also used in churches, and most books were written in Latin as well. Then there was time for French and Spanish, during the colonisation period. French then took over and it became the official language of diplomacy until World War II, when English replaced it as the lingua franca ever since. And even though in the 21st century English is the dominant language, its local dialects never cease to surprise, fascinate and challenge not only the speakers of English as a second language but also natives who at times also struggle to understand the local talk.
As a linguist I’m always on a quest to help people communicate better, and learn more about languages and local dialects. And in an attempt to do just that I’ve put together a list of words and phrases for all of you out there who would like to know more about ‘Nottinghamese’.
Small talk words & phrases:
We all need those, they are a perfect way to start a conversation, help break the silence and allow us to avoid topics that we’re not very keen on.
- Allreet – Are you OK
- That’s animal – It’s good
That’s sick – It’s good
- Tarrah thenn – Goodbye
- Ay-up yooth (to a man) or Ay-up midduk (to a lady or small child) – Good Morning/afternoon/ evening
- Intitt koad? – Don’t you think it’s chilly today?
- Wottjowont? – Do you require something?
- Owzyorr kidd? – Is your brother/sister in good health?
- Am orryte – I am quite well
- Wairja wokk? – What is your occupation?
Top survival words & phrases:
If on a one fine day you find yourself in a shady or uncomfortable situation, and you’re not sure what to say you should always have this short guide on hand. *Terms & Conditions Apply: we are not responsible for the reaction of the local folk after hearing some of those phrases.
- Famished – Very hungry
- Clammed – Hungry
- Nesh – Cold / I feel the cold
- Middlin – Fairly well
- Jiggy change – Small change given to bus driver
- Wairza booza? – Could you direct me to the local hostelry?
- Goowonn gerroff – Please go away
- Am tellin yammam – I shall report this incident to your mother
- Yo shitt! – I do not wish to converse any longer
- Yo dutti sodd! – I am disgusted by your language/behaviour!
Yo mukki bogga!
- Shuttya gobb! – Please bring this conversation to a speedy conclusion
- Am nakkud – I am very tired
- Aya seena bogg? – Is there a toilet nearby?
- Mee dogzizz barkin – My feet hurt
- Gerra moovonn – Please hurry
Top ‘I’m a pro’ words & phrases:
If you find yourself surrounded by the locals and want to impress them with your language skills here are top phrases you should know that will make them look at you with respect you deserve. Weave those into the conversation and you’ll definitely impress.
- To mash – To make a cup of tea
- Aya masht midduk? – Have you brewed the tea good woman?
- Fuddle – Indoor picnic
- Croggy – To give someone a lift on your bike
- Tab hanging – To listen in uninvited
- Munk/mard – Bad mood
- Kissers – Lips
- Aya gorrumminn? – Have you ordered the drinks?
- Intee inn? – Is the gentleman not available?
- Jono? – Do you realise?
- Gerritt dahnya – Please begin your meal
- The little bogga – My beloved child
- Yo jammi sodd! – You are a lucky person!
And all of those words and phrases that you don’t expect to use anytime in the near future but would like to know them . . . just in case:
In normal circumstances you wouldn’t expect to have a conversation about piglets or about arranging sheaves of corn into rows but we know life can be quite an unpredictable trickster and can put us in a variety of unexpected situations, hence the short list below.
- Canch (verb) – The action of arranging sheaves of corn into rows
- Recklin – Youngest pig in litter
- Bobbo – Horse
- Awokk at Ralleh – I manufacture bicycles
- Awokk at Boowutts – I am in the pharmaceutical industry
- Fog egg – bird nesting
- Clarty – Something sticking to the roof of your mouth
- Its a bit black ovver Bill’s mother’s – The skies are darkening
If you enjoyed this short guide to Nottingham’s dialect please share it with friends and family, and spread the word. If you have any other phrases and words that I may have missed please include them in the comment section below. If you love Nottingham’s dialect as much as I do check out Dukki Design, where you can get yourself customised products with Nottingham’s phrases.
❤︎ Special thanks to ‘Nottingham as it is Spoke’ volume I and II for its extensive knowledge and expertise in Nottingham’s dialect. Grab a copy of both volumes in Nottingham’s Tourism Centre on Smithy Row for more great examples of how to speak Nottingham.